Blurb Burble

Nothing like a good, attention-grabbing blurb . . . excited/exciting words . . . a wooing pitch.

I’ve touched upon writing both blurbs and pitches in past, but given the last edit for “Forever Poi” is [finally] almost completed, it’s time to write a winning blurb.

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Before I share mine, let’s not forget that a [selling/successful] blurb is what convinces someone to buy your book.  Simply put, it’s a sales pitch—yours.

Here are some things to consider re writing one.

Now, just for the record, there are a couple of types—the one you use for the back cover of your magnum opus and the one you use as a review.  Given I’m writing the former, let’s stick to that.

If you’ve never written one, Google some.  Get a feel for what works . . . and what doesn’t.  Review how they’re written and arranged.  Take notice of that first sentence; it should be dynamic and have us wanting to read more.  Consider the words that pull you in.  Note the voice, too; it should sound similar to the book.

Blurbs generally have a formula: they offer a situation or event, provide an issue or dilemma, and guarantee a surprise or shock.  Introduce main character(s) so readers have someone to relate to.  Provide a hint of setting (place and time).  Don’t reveal all, though—ensure you leave folks hanging, so they’ll yearn to know what happens!  Above all, keep it short and sweet in length and sentence structure.

Rewrite that blurb a few different ways.  Determine which one(s) works best, and hang on to them all.

After you’ve written one or five or ten, like your book, leave those blurb(s) for a few days so that you can review (and edit) with new eyes.  Don’t be afraid to ask friends, family, and followers for input.

One last note: if you have a writing background and have received awards and/or good reviews, you may want to add this information, but only if it relates to your book.  And if you do, again, make sure to keep it—yup—short and sweet.

Here’s the initial draft of the blurb for “Forever Poi” (feel free to offer input) . . .

The ever-proud owners of the Triple Threat Investigation Agency JJ, Rey and Linda, have stumbled through three major cases with stellar results.  Now, the not-so-novice private eyes have a double-arson case to solve: who set ablaze two happening Chinatown art galleries, leaving a couple of charcoal-broiled corpses in the rubble?  Any number of persons in the local art world could be responsible.  A cast of curious suspects include a haughty gallery owner with a questionable past, an art consultant as treacherous as she is beautiful, a risk-fond photographer who lives on the edge, and an aspiring manager with a dicey history.  If the gals can determine the reason, they might just catch the culprit.  A major insurance pay-out?  An ugly relationship break-up?  Pure vengeance?  Or a cover-up for past transgressions?  Whoever claimed the insurance and art worlds were uneventful or mundane?  Certainly not our sleuthing trio.burned building 

Shootin’ the Breeze

Hey, it’s Rey.  The Boss is scrambling to get things done on “Forever Poi”.  Yeah, she’s still doing the final edit (time runs through that woman’s fingers like folks sprinting to a Black Friday sale).

Been a wee while since I’ve posted and I’ve been missing it.  Who’d have guessed that Reynalda Fonne-Werde would ever admit she wanted to write?

If you’re keeping tabs on the daily Triple Threat Investigation Agency FB posts, you know the three of us have been busy with some small cases.  They’re not as complicated or dangerous as the FP case (which seems to be going on and on and on—hint, hint, hint, Boss Lady, get it together), but they help us to keep honing P.I. skills and pay bills.

On a personal update front . . .

Linda’s thinking of entering a surfing contest.  I think she’s crazy, given she’s only been doing it for a short while.  Granted, she looks pretty amazing on a board, but anyone who can stand on one of those things for more than 30 seconds has my applause.  She insists she’s up for the challenge; I say she’s up for a hospital stay.

JJ debated visiting her sometimes boyfriend, Cash/Richie J, for all of ten seconds.  He sent her an e-ticket; she deleted it.  End of story.  For now.

I’m doing another commercial, this time as a singing cricket for Cracking Cricketty Crunchies.  They come in four flavors—regular (yukko), ranch, BBQ, and honey-garlic—none of which I’ve tried.  You couldn’t pay me to eat bugs, but Linda says they taste great and are nutritious—yeah, in a pig’s eye.  I’m also heading to Cali for a few days to catch up with actor friends this coming week.

That’s it, that’s all.  Didn’t feel like—hmm, what’s that word?—ah yeah, inundating you with editing or writing “snippets of advice”.  I’ll leave that to The Boss.

Enjoyed shootin’ the breeze with you.  Hope you did, too.

Aloha—e mālama pono.

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Forever Poi . . . Takin’ Forever ?

Hey guys, Rey here.  The Boss is under the weather and may be out for the count for a wee bit.  If so, you’ll be hearing from me a lot.  If not, it’s back to editing tidbits—snippets of advice, I believe she calls it—mid week.

I know she’s been wanting to update you re “Forever Poi”, our latest case.  Good news!  It’s almost complete.  If all goes well, it’ll be available as an e-book the first week of July.

On a personal/professional note, though, I wanted to share thoughts on “Forever Poi”, our third case at the Triple Threat Investigation Agency.

Cousin Jilly (JJ), as you may know, had doubts when I first suggested becoming private eyes.  Come to that, so did my best friend, Linda.  I’m happy to say JJ’s feeling pretty good about it now; she thinks we’ve learned a lot and honed some must-have P.I. skills.  With time, she believes (hopes) we’ll develop a solid reputation.  It’ll be a stellar one, I say!

Linda’s of the mind that we’re still doing a lot (too much) by the seat of our pants.  Pfffft to that.  If you can’t trust your own judgment, whose can you trust?  Still, as long as cases come our way, she sees us doing this for the long haul.

And me?  I’ve always believed we’re awesome P.I.s.  Sure, we can be rash on occasion, but sometimes, you really do need to seize the moment.  If that means doing a little B&E or beaning a villain, so be it.

Yeah, I’d say we’re pretty pleased with our choice of profession.  Here’s to the Triple Threat Investigation Agency gals always catching their culprits.

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Extra! Extra! Read All about It!

Taking a lead from Rey, I opted for melodramatic.  <LOL>

Really, I just wanted to provide a quick update today . . . share intentions, feelings, maybe some warm-and-fuzzy stuff—or not.

A quick aside: “Extra!  Extra!  Read all about it!” was popular from the 1890s through the 1930s/1940s.  If you’ve ever watched old movies, you’ve undoubtedly heard this being shouted by enthusiastic young lads hawking newspapers on street corners to announce exciting, and often sinister, news.

For me, the exciting (far from sinister) news is that I’ve finished “Forever Poi”, the fourth Triple Threat Investigation Agency book.  The long-hazy ending finally became as logical as an Excel calculation and as clear as easy-to-follow baking instructions.  Case solved.  New [mis]adventures to come. blog2

 

Now it’s merely a matter of completing the final edit.  Yes, writing “Forever Poi” took longer than expected.  Like, waaaaaaaay longer, but t’is done, so yaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

The contest I’d been mulling over will wait a bit.  Hey, it’s taken [many] months to get to this point, so what’s a few more weeks?  Once “Forever Poi” has been formatted and all, there’ll be a post or two.

There are other things planned (hoped for) re the TT trio and blog, but right now, it’s all about taking life one day at a time.  Nonetheless, the list [still] exists: a mail campaign, the aforementioned contest, a landing page, e-book tours, and blog augmentation, to name but a few.

On that anticipatory note, have an awesome rest of the week.  Back in a few days my friends.  Be well and safe.

Coming Soon . . . We’re Hopin’

That’s hopin’ and not hoppin’, as in frogs and toads.  But, in truth, we’ve been doing a lot of that throughout the “Forever Poi” case.  Er, I should say, oodles of suspects have kept us hoppin’.  And all over the map!

Rey here.  The Boss requested a break.  Given Linda’s surfing on the North Shore and JJ’s volunteering at the animal shelter, that leaves l’il ol’ me to post.  That’s okay.  Between you and me, I’m really starting to enjoy it.

Instead of providing snippets of potentially useful info, I decided to share one of our more hairy “Forever Poi” moments.  Just to give you some quick background, the case starts with a double homicide that occurs when two Chinatown art galleries are torched.  The two murders lead to a few more . . . with a whack of wacky persons and incidents along the way.

I don’t have JJ’s voice, but here’s my account of an excitement-filled evening when a possible witness bites the dust, uh, table . . . .

♦   ♦

 

Dim Donald’s was a long, narrow bar on a side street not far from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency.  We’d only gone there once, when we first settled in the office but, as Linda had said, it wasn’t our cup of tea.  The inside was dark and drab, the drink selection limited, and the evening crowd looked like a perfect fit for the biker-like place

It was just after midnight and the bar—or watering hole, as I called it on the walk over—held two dozen heavy-duty bikers, uh, drinkers.  Seated on cheap ladder-back chairs at a window table, we ordered a round of beers for ourselves and glass of red wine for Timmy-Tom.

“You hungry?” I asked, unable to stop staring at Timmy-Tom’s milk-pod fuzzy eyebrows.

Cousin Jilly, or JJ as you know her, kicked me under the table.

He waved to a scruffy-looking middle-aged couple wearing jeans and jean jackets over black Ts with flaming skulls.  “I could go for a basket of wings and fries.  They’re pretty good here.”

I got the attention of the only waitperson, an old dude named Ched, who looked like a grinning leprechaun.

“What can I do for you?” Timmy-Tom asked.  He sampled the wine and nodded, and leaned back with a loud sigh.

“Where you around when the fire broke out?” JJ asked and took a sip of watery beer.  The weird expression on her face suggested it tasted about as good as it looked.

“I was at the rear of the first gallery, eating dinner, when the trucks arrived.”

“Was that long after the fire broke out?”

“Not long, no.”  He scanned the bar and shrugged.  “I hung around for a while, thinking they’d get it under control, but they didn’t seem to be having much luck that night.”

Linda sniffed her beer and scrunched up her nose.

“Do you know Carlos or James-Henri, the gallery owners?” I asked on a whim.

“By sight.”

“I’m guessing you didn’t see much that night, if you were at the back,” Gail stated, studying him closely.

“I walked around some after dinner.”  He eyed her curiously, as if he might know her, chewed his bottom lip, and finally continued.  “I saw people go in and out of the galleries.  Some were really pie-eyed leaving.  Must have been a helluva party.”

JJ pulled out her cell phone and showed him a photo of Lolita/Mary-Louise.  “Ever seen her?”

He studied it for almost a minute.  “Yeah.  A couple of times.  The first time was maybe a week before the fire.  The lady all but bolted from the back of the gallery, looking fit to be tied.  The second was the night of the fire.  She looked different—all fancy, with her hair in an updo.”

“Tell us about that night.  What did you see?” she asked, leaning forward eagerly.

He smiled sheepishly.  “I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but to get to the side street, I needed to walk past her and the person she was with.  I didn’t want to scare them or anything, so I waited in the shadows, figuring they wouldn’t stick around long.”

“Person she was with?” I asked, getting excited re a possible lead.

“She was chatting with someone—actually, they were talking under their breaths, like they didn’t want to be heard.  But there was this urgency about the way they talked and moved their hands and arms.”

“As if they were angry?” Linda asked.

“Angry or worried, or maybe both.”  He nodded to Ched when he placed cheap cutlery and paper napkins on the scarred table.  “How’s the family, my friend?”

“Awesome.  Always good to see you, Timmy-Tom.”  With a wink, Ched saluted and hurried off.

“Can you tell us who she was—”

I never got to finish the question.  Like a melon thrown from an overpass, Timmy-Tom’s smashed-mashed head dropped to the table with a clunk-thump.

JJ and I gazed from the awful mess to each other and back again, looking like we got hit with a stun gun.

Gail, on the other hand, dashed out the door after Tommy-Tom’s killer.

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Stoked & Grateful

As the year draws to a close, it’s hard not to consider all that’s transpired.  2017 was a[nother] year to grow and develop, learn and absorb.

A Writer’s Grab-Bag isn’t halfway where I want it to be (time constraints due to a 9-5 job and Mom), but that’s okay.  The important thing is it is up.  When I can eventually do this full-time, it’ll become everything I want it to be.  In the meanwhile?  I’ll simply go with the flow and figure things out—maybe what I’d initially envisioned the blog to be isn’t at all what it’s supposed to be.   <LOL>

I’m taking a little side trip from the usual and posting what I’m grateful for—that I:

  • have this post up and running
  • post twice a week, without fail
  • write daily on the Triple Threat Investigation Agency Facebook page
  • publish weekly on my other blog (a mish-mash of thoughts on a mish-mash of news, ideas, personal doings)
  • am forever learning about life, writing/blogging, Mom, me
  • have managed to keep the faith despite some trials and tribulations (God is good)
  • have “met” some awesome fellow writers and bloggers
  • am almost finished “Forever Poi”, the 4th mystery in The Triple Threat Investigation Agency series, and
  • am totally stoked about [and ready to take on] the upcoming year.

For those of you following this blog, thank you.  Whether there’s one of you, ten or a hundred, I hope that I provide you with some useful information and/or a smile or chuckle.

May 2018 be a truly amazing year—to dreams coming true, good health, and plans/goals secured . . . to always being stoked and grateful. 

Take care, my friends.  Hugs to you all.

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An Update, An Update, Who Wants an Update?

We do, we do!  <JK>

It’s Rey, taking over for the Boss again, who’s feeling a wee bit “blech” these days.

The “Forever Poi” case is slowly but surely drawing to a close.  We’re real near nabbing the murderer/arsonist.  As much as we’d love to share who it is, we can’t: there’s no proof yet, just P.I. gut instincts churning and burning to bring the culprit to justice.  You’ll have to wait a wee bit longer to learn the outcome of our sleuthing endeavors.

We’ve stumbled over a few bodies along the way, but the list of possible killers has shrunk to one or three.  Thankfully, that crazy week in Connecticut—when we solved The Connecticut Corpse Caper—helped prepare and qualify us for our current roles.

download (9)We’ve really come far since that adventure, never mind opening the Triple Threat Investigation Agency on Oahu.  Pat on back to me for suggesting it.  JJ and Linda were skeptical about moving to Hawaii—hell, they were doubtful about becoming private eyes—but they’ve since seen the light.  <LMAO>

I have a feeling we’ll have another big case soon.  It’d be cool to expand the agency to another island or two, which I may have mentioned, but Linda and JJ think it’s way too soon.  Whatever.

In the meanwhile, I’m bugging my gal-pals to invest in a house—with a pool would be awesome.  I’m keeping my eyes open.  Oh, I’ve got another commercial next week for a new healthy dog food.  I play a pirouetting poodle.

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Linda’s blogging a lot and trying to forget that jerk, Makjo, who dumped her for a wedding bride.  The good thing is she stopped making those creepy voodoo dolls.  The bad thing is she seems kinda lost, maybe a little sad and withdrawn.

JJ’s happy doing some part-time weather announcing and focusing on improving boxing and shooting skills.  Man, she sucks with a gun.  You’d think she had 20/200 vision, the way she doesn’t hit targets.

There you go—a quick update on our current adventures, or mis-adventures as JJ sometimes jokingly calls them.

I’ll post again when this case officially wraps up.  Aloha, my friends!

 

 

Judging a Book by Its Cover

“Forever Poi” should be completed in the New Year.  Fingers crossed.  So while I’m writing and rewriting—and huffing and puffing because I want to be there like yesterday—I’ve gotten the cover going.  (Katrina Joyner as an FYI does all my art.  She’s awesome, but that’s another post.)

So that brings me to this week’s Wednesday post: book covers.  What makes for a winning one?  Do you even need to have a good one (which can cost $$ if you’re not artistically inclined or aren’t sure who to hire or where to go)?

Let’s start with the obvious.  Yes, you really do need a dynamic cover—it’s what draws a potential reader (buyer).  A so-so/blah one isn’t going to convince someone your book is worth reading, much less purchasing . . . unless you have a name and following.  A so-so/blah one might also give the impression that the content is, well, equally so.  You don’t want to turn off the “shopper” before he/she even gets to the sample stage.

You’ve heard that expression: don’t judge a book by its cover.  Unfortunately, many do.  Bear that in [serious] mind.  Be professional—not only in your writing, but with the accompanying artwork.

Make sure your cover reflects your content.  If your “product” is a cozy mystery, you probably don’t want sexpots pirouetting with leather whips.  A vibrant appropriate cover will not only appeal to potential purchasers, but to those who might consider doing reviews or passing on recommendations.

Before you commit to making that cover “the” cover, get feedback.  Friends and family are fine, but you might want to ask others in the industry.  Join a supportive writing group like Facebook’s fantastic SPF Community.  I’ve seen many an author post their cover and ask for opinions—and receive valuable feedback.

Lastly, have that cover display a bit of you / your voice.  Think: branding.

Book cover software does have merit, so this weekend’s post will look at some “makers”.  Until then, have an awesome creative rest of the week.

The Further Adventures of The Triple Threat Investigation Agency . . . We Wish!

Okay, those “adventures” ain’t that much further, the three of us admit.  We’re kinda, uh, slightly stuck.

Rey here.  The boss asked us to write a post because she’s overloaded with that other job (the 9-to-5 one she’d love to see go bye-bye).   Since Linda’s surfing on the North Shore for a couple of days (she met a guy named Lindor who’s got her all googly-eyed) and JJ’s volunteering at the animal shelter for the next three days on account of employees being sick and/or on vacation, yours truly got the honor.

I’ve got an idea about writing posts from watching Linda.  Seems they have a purpose—to inform or instruct, or entertain.  I’m not gonna waste your time or mine by writing too much—coz I’m a doer and watcher, not an “author”.   So, here’s an update on where we’re at.

The gals–that’s us–at the Triple Threat Investigation Agency are wrapping up the fourth big case, “Forever Poi”.  Yeah, you heard this a wee while back.  Unfortunately, we hit a couple of brick walls—big time—but I’m sure (!) we’re gonna nab our villain(s) real soon.

We’ve got lots of “gut instincts”, some dead bodies, but no hard evidence, that’s the prob.  I’d share our thoughts as to who the killer is, but my fellow P.I.s would have my hide.  Besides, the killer might read this post and then where would we be?  Up Shit’s Creek without a paddle, or something like that.

Please, hang in there—like we’re doing—and all will be revealed soon.

And a super big thanks for your patience.

Yay.  One task done.  . . . Think I’ll hit the beach and have a Mai-Tai.  Cheers!

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Forever Poi – Ain’t Takin’ Forever . . . or . . . Shameless Self-Promotion

Okay, not really shameless; just promotion.  If I don’t toot my own horn, who will?  (One day, that mail list / campaign will happen and when it does, hopefully, my followers will be happy to toot-toot-toot along.)

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On the Forever Poi front, the third official case for the Triple Threat Investigation Agency trio: it’s slowly but surely wrapping up.  In fact, JJ, Rey and Linda want you to know that this latest case is moving along “swimmingly well”.

The gals have a lot of leads, suspicions and “gut feelings”, but no tangible proof—yet.  But they also have have stick-to-it-tiveness (and a penchant for doing things slightly illegally), so there’s little doubt that they’ll be fingering the culprit(s) soon.

Here’s some insight into their “swimmingly well” success so far:

“Man, can that dude yammer.  He’s worse than Grandma Columba,” Rey muttered under her breath.

We’d just received a ten-minute “lecture” from Ald Ives after he and his team had completed a preliminary assessment of Bizz Waxx and the studio.

The three of us were seated in a corner on the first floor on uncomfortable wooden chairs with vivid serpents snaking up the legs.  Sporting a hint of a beard, Ald looked relatively relaxed and rather handsome dressed in True Religion jeans, a white-and-navy long-sleeved T, and a black full-zip jacket.  The derisive tone was the only thing to give away his true mood.

“I heard that, Fonne-Werde.”

She sneered.  “You get an ‘A’ for A-1 hearing.”

“You, lady, are in no position to get lippy.”

“We found you a dead body.  You should be applauding us.”

With a scowl, he tucked hands into jean pockets and leaned into a wall.  “This isn’t the end.”

“Of course it isn’t,” she snorted.  “There’s a murderer to catch!”

Exchanging sideward glances, Linda and I swallowed amused smiles.

“And that’ll do from you two!”

With Eru (Hyouka) Chitanda innocence, we stated at the detective.

“Those doleful anime expressions don’t get you off the hook.  Haven’t I warned you time and time again about breaking and entering?”

“Mr. Waxx invited us to drop by at any time,” I stated flatly, crossing my arms.  (What was a little white lie?)

Crossing hers, Linda nodded.  “Yeah.”

“Without a key?”

“He wasn’t around, so we let ourselves in.”  I pulled out my cell when Dean crooned.  It was just after midnight and Cash Layton Jones was still calling.  Give the man ten points for resilience.  But then, as he’d once said, we were both as persistent as dogs chomping on bones.

He stepped close and our toes nearly touched.  “You entered without a key.  That’s otherwise described as gaining admittance to someone’s premises without authorization . . . especially after the use of illegal means to gain said entry.”

“Can you prove there was no authorization?  As I said, we had no key, so we had to find another means of access.”  I rose.  “And ‘illegal’ is a rather dodgy word, don’t you think?”

“Yeah,” Rey slapped her thigh.  “You say po-tay-toe, we say poe-tah-toh, but it amounts to the same thing: we did your job by finding the poor guy.”

Ald looked from her to me to Linda, and shook his head.  “This is getting too weird for me.  Go home and get some sleep.  We’ll continue tomorrow—in my office at eleven.”